Monday, December 30, 2013

Life Lately - Holidays and House!

What a whirlwind couple of weeks it has been! Lots of travel, lots of paperwork, and lots of excitement for 2014!

Highlights are as follows:
  • We spent a fabulous week in the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina with Taylor's family for Thanksgiving
  • Escrow is closed, the mountain of paperwork is signed -- we're homeowners!
  • Hardwood floors are refinished and walls are painted -- ready for move-in!
  • We spent a fun-filled week in Ohio with Shane's family for Christmas
  • We're moving into our house TOMORROW!
Life lately is fantastic.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Movin' on up to the east side...

... of the Bay, that is!

That's right, folks. In a mere 25 days, escrow will close and Shane and I will be signed, sealed, delivered home owners in the adorable city of Berkeley, California!

Can I tell you how amazing it feels to say that? Talk about an exhausting process -- house hunting could easily be a full time job! After countless open house tours, 3 offers, and 2 heartbreaks, it's all over! Third time's a charm, and we ended up with the home that is just right for us.

Feast your eyes on Casa de Harter!

Fave things about the house?
  • Lemon tree by the front door (Fresh lemonade, on-demand!)
  • Windows, windows everywhere (Let there be light!)
  • Warmer weather (and less fog!)
  • Proximity to BART (San Francisco is still just a 30-minute BART ride or 20-minute drive away)
  • Compost bins and solar panels! (We're so Berkeley, I almost can't even stand us)
  • And just a mile away from this incredible view....

We're now accepting reservations for guests at Casa de Harter in Spring 2014 ;-)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Birthday to Archie!

Today is Archie's birthday and this year he turns 2! That's 14 in human years! My, how time flies....

I feel like just yesterday, he was this small:

And now he's all grown up: 20 pounds heavier, living in San Francisco, and howling to his heart's content!

Happy Birthday to our precious baby boy :-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Perhaps you've heard?

Obviously, the entire fam was ecstatic:

Some San Franciscans got a little too excited.

Anyways, the news of their big win is many days old now, but today was the homecoming parade for our champs and yes, the entire city was there...

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi!
Willie Mays (blurry)!
Giants mascot!
UC Berkeley Marching Band!
The World Series trophy with Giants manager, Bruce Bochy!
And finally, the players come escorted by the SF Segway Tour Company!
Tim Lincecum
World Series MVP (and his trophy), Pablo Sandoval (aka Panda)! 
How sweep it is!
The aftermath.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Acorn Squash Soup

I promise I'm not going to become a foodie blog (I'm not that good... yet!), but we've been frequenting the Heart of the City Farmer's Market and getting the best produce, so lately I've been into experimenting in the kitchen! After some encouragement from my momma to try acorn squash, I picked one up (80 cents, thank you very much -- can't beat those farmer's market prices!).  I heard squash is really good with just butter, salt and pepper (and I have enjoyed this easy preparation for spaghetti squash) but I've also become somewhat of a soup connoisseur lately so I wanted to give it a try with the squash.  I sort of melded a few different online recipes together and here are the delicious results and the recipe!


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squash in half on the equator and remove the seeds. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the squash cut side up. To one half, add a peeled shallot and to the other half add two peeled garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until very tender, approximately 1 hour. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the squash from the skin with a spoon. Reserve the roasted shallots and garlic with the squash.

In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat and add 1/3 cup raw diced shallots and saute until they are starting to caramelize, about 5 to 6 minutes. Deglaze with 1/4 cup of chicken stock.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the reserved squash, roasted shallots and garlic and 1 cup chicken stock. Stir to combine, then puree. Add a pinch of cayenne, a pinch of white pepper, some thyme, and 1/3 cup of heavy cream and heat over medium-low heat.

Proof of my kitchen endeavor:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hooray Kale!

I've been thinking a lot over the past few months about all the things I put in my body.  As recently as 2 years ago, I considered myself a bonafide fast food addict.  The steak quesadilla at Taco Bell and a double cheeseburger meal at McDonalds were my two biggest weaknesses (and I still get the occasional craving) but Shane and I have been on a health kick and I've never felt better!  We eat much more fresh produce and less greasy fast food and it has made all the difference in our energy levels and general feeling good-ness.

Well, I've been hearing and reading a lot about the amazing nutritional benefits of kale so I wanted to give it a try.... Which is exactly what I have been doing in the kitchen for the last hour or two and I'm officially converted to this green god of a vegetable!

I hereby give you the recipes that Shane and I have both vowed will be permanent fixtures in our meal rotations:

Sautéed Kale with Garlic, Onions and Lemon (serves 4), courtesy of FoodFit

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 cups kale, washed, ribs removed
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon

1. Heat the olive oil in a 10" skillet over medium-low heat.
2. Add the onions and cook until tender but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
3. Add the kale, salt and pepper and toss with the olive oil and garlic until the kale begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over the mixture. Remove from the skillet and serve.

Kale Chips

1 head kale, washed, ribs removed
olive oil
kosher salt
ground black pepper
lemon juice
Any other spice you like! I've seen recipes with paprika, garlic salt (yummm), red pepper flakes, etc.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the kale in a large bowl and dress very lightly with olive oil so the leaves are barely coated. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the leaves out across roasting sheet so they don't overlap.  Roast in the oven until crispy but still green, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and dress with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Green Smoothie

bunch of kale, washed, ribs removed
green grapes
green apple
plain yogurt or ice (depending on your desired texture)
protein powder (if you're so inclined)

Coarsely chop up your produce and toss it in the blender!  Add more or less of each fruit or veggie to taste (kale is a bit bitter, so don't go overboard if you want to be able to stomach your beverage).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wine Country with the Folks!

The Allees returned to California last week to spend some time in Sonoma Valley (aka wine country)!  My parents rented a house with their friends so Shane and I (as well as their daughter, from San Diego) had the pleasure visiting for the weekend to check out a few wineries and get out of the city and into the sunshine!

Our adorable accomodations
Isn't she radiant? That's my Momma :-)
Dad, constantly making us laugh :-)
Just wanted to show off my new photog skills, thanks to my new camera!
(b-day gift from the Parentals)

Total wine connoisseur now